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New Jersey Republican Party Sues to Obtain Ability to Make Late Substitution in Legislative Race (October 7, 2015, 12:03 PM)

On October 5, the New Jersey Republican Party filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State, so as to be able to replace one of its nominees for Assembly, 38th district. New Jersey elects all its legislators on November 3, 2015. See this story. The party will choose a replacement for the candidate who dropped out on October 8. But unless it wins the lawsuit, that candidate won’t be on the ballot. New Jersey permits substitution but the deadline had already passed.

Maine Initiative for Instant Runoff Voting Will be Submitted This Month (October 7, 2015, 11:38 AM)

The Maine initiative to use instant runoff voting for federal and state office will be submitted this month. Proponents have collected approximately 75,000 signatures. Assuming they have enough, the measure will appear on the November 2016 ballot. See this story.

NBC Tells its Local Stations to Notify FCC that they Gave Hillary Clinton 3 Minutes of Free Time, on Saturday Night Live (October 6, 2015, 06:00 PM)

On Saturday, October 3, Saturday Night Live carried a skit in which Hillary Clinton appeared as a bartender named “Val”. She served an actress who was playing Hillary Clinton. The skit lasted for 3 minutes and 12 seconds.

Now, NBC has notified its stations who carry Saturday Night Live that they should notify the FCC that they gave Clinton free air time. The Equal Time rule still applies to broadcast television, but it has been interpreted over the years to exclude bona fide news events, including interviews.

It is somewhat plausible that other candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination might now ask for an equal amount of time on the stations that carried the skit. Thanks to Rick Hasen for this link. Equal time does not mean that the candidates seeking free air time necessarily need to be on Saturday Night Live. It just means they may be entitled to some free time.

U.S. District Court Postpones Decision in Illinois Libertarian Ballot Access Case for the Seventh Time (October 6, 2015, 05:24 PM)

On October 6, a U.S. District Court Judge in Illinois issued an entry into the record of Libertarian Party of Illinois v State Board of Elections, n.d., 1:12cv-2511. It says, “As the Court requires additional time to finalize its ruling on the pending cross-motions for summary judgment, the status hearing set for October 7, 2015 is stricken and reset for October 30, 2015, at 9 a.m. The Court does not anticipate that the new status date will be reset.”

The issue is the unique Illinois law that says newly-qualifying parties (but not already existing parties) must run a full slate of candidates. The Libertarian Party filed this case in 2012 and it still hasn’t had a decision on the merits. The judge who has the case now has now postponed a decision seven times in the last two years.

Free and Equal Announces Date and Location for General Election Presidential Debate (October 6, 2015, 03:13 PM)

Free & Equal will host a general election presidential debate on August 30, 2016, at the Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles. In 2012 Free & Equal also hosted a general election debate, which was moderated by Larry King. At the 2012 debate, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Goode, and Rocky Anderson participated. The PBS news show, the Jim Lehrer Hour, broadcast five minutes of the debate.

New Hampshire Supreme Court Says Local Referendum Should be on Ballot (October 6, 2015, 03:07 PM)

On October 5, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that a referendum should be put on the ballot in the town of Derry. The town council passed a budget that was unpopular. Opponents of the budget then successfully obtained enough signatures to put the budget on the ballot. The town council then refused to authorize an election, so opponents of the budget sued. The Supreme Court and the Superior Court both agreed with the referendum proponents that the measure should be on the ballot. The town council had argued that state law doesn’t permit such referenda for towns with a town-council form of government. The case is Chirichiello v Town of Derry, number 2015-0566 in the Supreme Court, and 218-2015-cv-871 in the lower court.

Scotusblog Lists California Minor Party Lawsuit as one of the ?Petitions to Watch? (October 6, 2015, 11:59 AM)

Scotusblog has listed Rubin v Padilla as a “petition to watch”. See here. Rubin v Padilla is the California minor party lawsuit that argues that California’s top-two system injures voting rights in the general election. Thanks to Bob Richard for this news.

Maine Libertarian Party Registration Drive Seems Likely to Succeed (October 5, 2015, 01:45 PM)

Maine requires a group that wishes to become a qualified party to obtain 5,000 registered members. This requirement was created in 2013, and replaced the old, very difficult 5% petition that had been in the law starting in 1976. The Maine Libertarian Party has been carrying on a voter registration drive for the last six months, and now has over 5,000 registrations, although they have not all yet been submitted to election officials. The drive is continuing with a goal of 6,000, for safety.

The last time the Libertarian Party was a qualified party in Maine was 1991-1992. Currently the Green Party is ballot-qualified in Maine. The Reform Party was also a ballot-qualified party in Maine in the 1990’s, but before that Maine hadn’t had any ballot-qualified parties other than the Republican and Democratic Parties since the 1910’s decade.

Emma Wong Mar, First Asian-American to Run for National Office in November, Dies (October 5, 2015, 01:38 PM)

On September 16, Emma Wong Mar died in Oakland, California. She was 89. She was the Peace & Freedom Party’s vice-presidential nominee in 1984, and was the first Asian-American to appear on a general election ballot for President or Vice-President.

Her running mate in 1984 was Sonia Johnson. Johnson’s vice-presidential nominee in other states was Richard Walton, but in California the ticket was comprised of Johnson and Mar. Thanks to Jeb Ziggler for this news.

Experts on Polling Say Debate Sponsors are Relying on Polls Too Much (October 5, 2015, 10:25 AM)

This Politico article quotes several experts on polls, who agree that presidential primary debate sponsors are depending on polls far too much when they decide which candidates to invite.

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